Navotas teen slay a murder case – lawyers | Inquirer News

Navotas teen slay a murder case – lawyers

/ 05:05 AM August 14, 2023

Rodaliza Baltazar, mother of Jemboy, weeps during his wake at the family residence in Barangay NBBS Kaunlaran, Navotas City, as her husband Jessie looks on.

GRIEVING MOM | Rodaliza Baltazar, mother of Jemboy, weeps during his wake at the family residence in Barangay NBBS Kaunlaran, Navotas City, as her husband Jessie looks on. (Photo by LYN RILLON / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — The death of 17-year-old Jerhode “Jemboy” Baltazar in the hands of Navotas police should be prosecuted as an act of murder and not as a mere accident, lawyers familiar with the case said on Sunday.

National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers Frank Tiongson and Kristina Conti protested against the move of the Philippine National Police to charge the six police officers involved in Baltazar’s death with the lesser offense of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide.


“Enough facts exist to support an indictment for murder, not just for reckless imprudence,” they said in a statement. “Their claim of mistaken identity does not downgrade the crime in reckless imprudence similar to cases of road accidents.”


Currently, the six cops — whose names are being withheld by the PNP — are facing a complaint for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, while 27 police officers were relieved from their posts.


This was after the cops admitted to having shot Baltazar, 17, in his boat, after being mistaken for another suspect they were chasing during a police operation in Barangay North Bay Boulevard South Kaunlaran on Aug. 2. While they confessed to their mistake, the police argued they were only carrying out their duty.

But Tiongson and Conti said it was clear that the police “acted with the intent to kill” since both Baltazar and his friend were both unarmed and defenseless.

Video footage of the operation showed that the two tried to surrender peacefully first but the police still shot at them, forcing Baltazar to jump into the water.

The PNP Police Operational Procedure Manual clearly states that the use of lethal approaches must be the last resort.

“Either the police did not follow their own protocol, or worse, deliberately sought to commit mindless slaughter,” they argued.


They called on the PNP to prosecute the police to the fullest extent and to ensure fairness and transparency in investigating the incident.

They also dared the Navotas police to identify the cops involved and to stop the outright blocking of public inquiries about the case. Earlier, Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos ordered the PNP to review its operational procedures and level of accountability.

“We will revisit all of their modes of procedure and take up the doctrine of command responsibility, to see up to what level of officers should be held accountable. This should never happen again,” Abalos said.

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Both Abalos and PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. assured the family of Baltazar that they will help get justice for the teenager when they separately went to his wake on Thursday.


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TAGS: Jerhode Jemboy Baltazar, mistaken identity killing, Philippine National Police

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